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New Jersey sues ex-insurance officials

THE BALTIMORE SUN

New Jersey filed suit yesterday against three dozen former executives and directors of Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co., charging them with mismanaging finances and driving the nation's 18th-largest life insurer into insolvency.

The suit seeks to hold a list of prominent business leaders responsible when they served as directors of Mutual Benefit. If successful, the suit could make the defendants personally liable for more than $1 billion in company losses. Insurance covers only $20 million of the directors' liabilities.

Among the former directors charged in the civil action were Richard M. Furlaud, the former chairman of American Express; Leon Hess, the owner of the New York Jets; Sen. Christopher S. Bond of Missouri; and E. James Ferland, the chairman of Public Service Electric & Gas, New Jersey's largest utility.

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